A brief, respectable, respectful exit on his own terms, magnanimously facilitated by his devoted, loving son Adam.
Nine goodbyes. A distinguished finale by one of Canada’s great artists, poets, and performers who is now definitely a contender for the top 10 greatest Canadians (certainly from the field of the arts).
The lyrics are deceptively simple as usual with numerous ambiguous lines:
“If you are the dealer
I’m out of the game”
“You want it darker
We kill the flame”
“I wish there was a treaty we could sign”
“I turned my back on the devil
turned my back on the angel too.”
(Patrick Leonard who co-wrote and co-produced also deserves a big thank-you for helping Leonard see this special artifact through to its unique, aesthetic conclusion.)
You Want It Darker covers a lot of the bases that thoughtful, conscious people typically go through in their final illnesses on their way to death. Along the way, Cohen revisits the religion of his youth (signified by a synagogue choir and some Jewish phrasing), his mixed feelings about our crazy chaotic modern world, and his views on love and lovers on his journey to death, and his negotiated, personal relationship with God. Ironically, Cohen has been to dark and darker places before, and this last voyage/transition is as conflicted as ever, but finally resolved, instead, with a deeper integrity than ever before. This album is simply a major ‘letting go’ and total acceptance of The End by our greatest poet-songwriter.